About Us

Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community. YSEALI is partnering with Fulbright University Vietnam (Fulbright) in Ho Chi Minh City to launch the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright.

The YSEALI Academy at Fulbright offers executive-level seminars for entry to mid-level professionals around the themes of technology & innovation, public policy, and entrepreneurship. Participation will be open to applicants from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. YSEALI Academy at Fulbright aims to deliver 16-20 high-quality seminars in the next five years to rising leaders (Fellows) across Southeast Asia. These seminars will address regional challenges from regional perspectives, feature leading regional and U.S.-based experts in industry and academia, and involve individual and group-based, experiential learning activities designed to create lasting professional relationships between Fellows of different nationalities and foster skills which can be applied in their careers.

Flagship Seminars in 2023

Public Policy II (November 2023)

The 202YSEALI Academy Public Policy Seminar on From Geopolitics to Geoeconomics: Southeast Asia in the Whirlwind of Global Competition is a seminar geared towards young professionals who are passionate about tackling global and regional issues, especially in terms of geopolitical and geoeconomic challenges emerging from the global competition affecting Southeast Asia region. The Seminar will provide the unique opportunity for fellows to expand their knowledge about the interplay of economic, political, and security aspects of Southeast Asia development, as well as the issues of economic-security nexus of the region.

Entrepreneurship (July 2023)

Unconference on Impact Entrepreneurship
Impact entrepreneurship is the process of creating and scaling new business models that aim to generate positive social and environmental impact, in addition to financial returns. It is a form of entrepreneurship that prioritizes creating positive change in society and the environment as a core part of the business strategy, rather than simply generating profits as the primary objective. Impact entrepreneurs often focus on addressing pressing societal issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change through innovative and sustainable business models.

Technology & Innovation (April 2023)

Creative AI and Cultural Influence: 2022 is widely regarded as the year of AI-generated art and text. Powerful software tools that write essays, make art, and compose music have emerged and are leading a new generation of AI technologies that are set to revolutionize creative work. The seminar will explore creative AI and the role of culture, of which Southeast Asia has a broad diversity.  Artists, writers, and musicians in Southeast Asia are molded in the local culture as well as in the digital culture. How do we make sure our diverse cultures are properly represented and respected in building these AI systems? The seminar also discusses the current disruptions and future implications of creative AI in Southeast Asia. The fellows will collaborate in ideating new ways that creative AI can benefit the region, strategizing the mitigation of risks and promoting our cultural diversity. Lastly, the seminar will generate awareness of intellectual property and why it is important for Southeast Asia.

Public Policy (January 2023)

The 2023 Public Policy Seminar on Southeast Asia’s economic integration amid global turbulence provides an overview of Southeast Asia’s economic integration, its trends, opportunities, and challenges in the context of current global turbulence, with a focus and perspective on policymaking. It will concentrate on selected issues facing Southeast Asia economic linkages and initiatives, including ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Free Trade Agreements (FTA), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP), Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) as well as the dynamics of FDI and other capital flows. It will also discuss the impacts on the Southeast Asian economy of global challenges such as COVID and other pandemics, supply chain disruption, rising inflation and tightening policies in large economies, energy tension, China’s economic slowdown, FED policy, US-China confrontation, and the war in Ukraine.

Flagship Seminars in 2022

Public Policy (March 2022)

Regional Environment and Resilient Development
The seminar provides an overview of environmental challenges to Southeast Asia and how to cope with them by (and for) resilient development. With economic and policymaking perspectives, it will focus on selected environmental issues facing Southeast Asia including environmental pollution, water security, climate change, oil and gas exploration, upstream hydropower impacts and carbon intensity in exports.  

Technology and Innovation (June 2022)

The Digitization of Trust:
Everyday on the internet, we interact with technology that attempts to gain our trust and influence our decisions.  The tools of biased A.I., while promising to be trustworthy helpers, have also become powerful tools for manipulating and synthesizing media.  New tools like blockchain are promising the full and seamless automation of trust.  In this seminar, young leaders of Southeast Asia will learn how to take control of these tools to address the unique digital challenges of the region while mitigating the risks posed by the same tools.

Entrepreneurship (September 2022)

Born GlobalsScaling Startups beyond Borders:
Southeast Asia can pride itself on having more and more startups and entrepreneurial activities. Yet, scaling these startups internationally has been a challenge, partly because of the very diverse Southeast Asian home market. Learning from Born Globals can help to overcome these external obstacles. Born Globals are known for their unique startup capabilities to rapidly expand across borders: global leadership, adaptability, networking capacity, and innovative business models.